Joues de Boeufs Braises
1 pound (500g) beef cheeks
4 cups (1 liter) hearty red wine, such as a Languedoc
4 bay leaves from the laurus nobilis
10 sprigs thyme
¼ orange, preferably organic
2 carrots, trimmed, peeled, diced
2 to 4 cups (.5-1 liter) beef or herb stock
1. Trim all the nerves and fat from the beef cheeks, and discard.
2. Cut the beef cheeks in three pieces, and put it in a non-reactive bowl. Cover it with the wine; add 2 of the bay leaves and the remaining herbs, the orange, and the carrots. Cover and marinate for 24 hours, or at least overnight, turning the cheeks once or twice.
3. Preheat the oven to 270F (130C).
4. When the cheeks have marinated, remove from the marinade, and pat dry. Strain the wine, discarding the herbs, the orange and the carrots. Place it in a saucepan over medium heat, and when it is hot, flame it. Remove it from the heat.
5. Brown the cheeks in a non-stick skillet placed over medium-high heat, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a roasting pan. Pour the wine over the cheeks, add the remaining bay leaves, and 2 cups (500ml) stock, or as much as you need to cover the cheeks. Cover the pan and roast in the oven until the cheeks are tender and melting, at least 4 hours. Check from time to time, and add additional stock or wine if necessary to cover the cheeks.
6. Remove the cover from the pan and let the cheeks cook an additional hour, turning them two or three times.
7. When the cheeks are fully tender, remove them from the pan. Place the cooking liquid over medium-high heat, and reduce until you have about 1-1/2 cups. Taste it for seasoning.
8. To serve, using two forks shred the beef cheeks. Add enough reduced cooking liquid to moisten the cheeks. Serve accompanied with squash puree and braised carrots.